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How Has Google Profiled You?

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Saturday April 27, 2013 )

Google has made some interesting assumptions about my online habits, some of them way off the mark. What about you?

A humorous article by Australian political journalist and commentator Annabel Crabb* highlighted Google’s clever/devious (depending on your take) method of scanning your Gmail activity to determine what advertising is displayed.

Annabel’s experiment with this feature was amusing, if a little unsettling. I had forgotten about the controversy surrounding Gmail in this regard and I’m pretty sure Google hopes many others continue to do so.

Annabel also noted the Google Ad Preferences Manager profile page where it shows your “interests”. It’s something I haven’t paid much attention to in the past, so I decided to take a peek at mine.

In the “Ads On Google” section, it lists 2 of my interests as being dance and reggaeton. Google must use the term “interests” rather loosely. Out of the hundreds of searches I carried out in the last month while logged into my Google Account; I do remember the reggaeton being run once, just in order to get a definition. In regard to dance, that has me stumped.

For “Google Ads Across the Web”, my listed interests are far more accurate.

So it looks like Google has a bit of fine tuning to do with interests; but it certainly explains why some of the ads I’ve been seeing (the ones that have no relation to the topic I’m viewing) are anything but relevant to me.

*Annabel Crabb is one of Australia’s finest journalists in my opinion. She’s switched on, articulate, insightful and always amusing; without letting the humour get in the way of the point she’s making.

If you’ve never read her work before, don’t just stop at the article referenced above (Of Cats And Cheap Psychoanalysis); check out some of her other recent articles. They will put a smile on your dial while providing food for thought.


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